Flat slate beds

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Arrangement of a vegetable garden in a summer cottage or a personal plot almost never does without refining the beds. We will show you a great way to arrange elevated beds, suitable both for covering with a greenhouse dome and for open cultivation of crops.

Flat slate beds

General design description

Why do you even need to care about the device for fencing the beds, if most garden crops feel quite comfortable when planting in open ground? On the one hand, it may be a simple wish to improve the landscape design aesthetics. On the other hand, cultivated and fenced beds are an excellent indicator of the correct organization of plant care and an important factor of convenience for gardeners: when working on an elevated ridge, the back gets less tired, while walkways can be covered with mulch, rubble or paved with paving slabs, without fear of silting further.

Flat slate beds

The design of the beds itself is very simple. The walls are made of asbestos-cement sheets, fastened together at the corners and at straight joints. From a third to half of the total height of the walls is under the ground, the remainder rises above ground level. Inside the garden bed can be filled with a specially prepared substrate, thus reducing the cost of making compost and purchasing fertilizers.

Flat slate beds

In general, such a formwork turns out to be quite strong and reliable, but it requires some reinforcement. For example, to counteract the pressure of the expanding soil, the opposite walls of the beds are pulled together, and also firmly fastened at the corners in order to eliminate the divergence of the joints. Slate is a very durable material, even if it is under a layer of soil. However, the sheets are often colored additionally, which improves the aesthetics of the garden and helps to reduce the water absorption of the walls..

Marking and preparation of plots for beds

Of course, it makes no sense to split the entire cultivated area into high beds. Usually, in this way, they equip places for growing flowers and vegetables, while melons and root crops successfully grow in open ground.

Slate beds can have an almost unlimited length, but it is advisable to keep their width within 120-150 cm, so access from both sides will be the most convenient. The space between the beds, intended for the device of walkways, should be at least 50 cm, at the same time, a width of more than a meter will be excessive. Before preparing the soil for the device of beds, it must be marked by driving in pegs in the corners.

Flat slate beds

The process of soil development itself is quite simple. It is necessary to remove the top layer of black soil and temporarily take it to a dump nearby. The walls of the formed pit must be cleaned and leveled in accordance with the geometry of the beds. With an offset of 10 cm from the walls, the bottom of the pit is deepened by another 10–20 cm, which is necessary for arranging a barrier against pests moving in the upper soil layers. The soil extracted from this layer is piled into a separate dump.

Production of slate walls

As a starting material, sheets of the smallest format 100×150 cm are suitable. It is more convenient to deliver them to the dacha, and there will be fewer problems with further processing. However, the width of the sheet can be selected individually so that it is a multiple of the full height of the walls. As a rule, 50 cm is enough for arranging beds, but individual summer residents may have their own considerations on this score.

The sheets must be unfolded into strips along the long side. A grinder with a diamond wheel for stone is best suited for cutting slate, but certain precautions should be taken when working. The asbestos, bound in the mass of the slate sheet, is absolutely harmless, but when cutting, an impressive amount of very harmful dust is formed. Therefore, it is imperative to use a respirator and safety glasses. It is also advisable to cut the strips at a time, subsequently spilling dusty areas with a lot of water..

Flat slate beds

It is necessary to remove small chamfers from the cut edges of the slate using an emery bar. Also, at the edges and in the center of the strips, you should immediately make holes for installing guy wires and connecting structural elements into a general formwork contour in accordance with the selected type of fastening. After machining, the slate sheets will be properly coated with one layer of budget quality alkyd enamel.

Assembly of fences

You can fasten sheets at corners and straight joints in completely different ways. Tightness at the joints is not required, and the strength of the fastening must be purely nominal – only to ensure the integrity of the structure before it is backfilled with soil.

In everyday life, the most common options are when the corners are fastened by inserts from a profile pipe or wooden bars, to which slate strips are screwed with screws. This method is good for its low cost, moreover, this way you can pre-align the geometry of the beds and ensure the required installation height of the sheets. However, both wood and structural steel quickly deteriorate from decay and corrosion, especially with the active use of mineral fertilizers..

Flat slate beds

There is also an alternative – aluminum profiles for the assembly of commercial equipment. In addition to durability, this method provides simplicity and high manufacturability of the assembly process, has a more accurate appearance. It is only important to choose the correct width of the installation groove: in the smallest standard size of profiles it is 5.5 mm, which is well suited for assembling 6 mm slate sheets – again, the smallest thickness for this material. On sale, you can find profiles with a groove up to 10 mm – these are optimal for high long beds. After joining, a box of slate sheets is temporarily fixed through the body of the profile with self-tapping screws for metal and placed in a prepared pit on a brick scaffold.

Flat slate beds

As for the connection of straight joints, for these purposes it is quite possible to use slate trimmings, reinforced rubber from used conveyor belts and other sheet materials that are not subject to decay. It is advisable to bond the slate strips before their final installation, carefully aligning the joints. In order for the fastening to be of high quality, at the connection points, you need to drill holes in advance with an indent of 20 mm from the edge and use galvanized self-tapping screws with a press washer.

Flat slate beds

Strengthening and mortgages

To prevent the pressure of the expanding soil, the walls must be pulled together according to the same principle as the formwork when pouring concrete. It is optimal for this purpose to use galvanized wire with a thickness of at least 1 mm. On opposite walls, you need to drill two relatively coaxial holes, then roll the wire into a loop and stretch it through the slate sheet, inserting a small metal pin as a stopper.

On the reverse side, the tails of the wire are twisted together until the slack is completely removed and the walls are slightly bent inward, after which the twist is also fixed with a pin and a pair of self-tapping screws. There is no need to place screeds in the underground part of the walls, they work effectively when installed with a distance of 10-12 cm from the upper edge.

Flat slate beds

To be able to install hinged greenhouse domes, it is necessary to drive several pieces of angle steel into the ground, placing them close to the inner wall of the garden bed. The corners should be connected to each other with reinforcement of 8 or 10 mm, placing the braces diagonally. After installation, the embeds are cut flush with the upper edge of the walls, after which horizontal metal plates are welded to them to fasten the hinges. When all the installation work is completed, it is advisable to wrap the flower bed from the inside with a thick plastic wrap, letting it down to the bottom of the lower tier of the pit about 10 cm and wrapping it on the sides of the fence. This will help prevent bears and other pests from entering the garden bed, which migrate in the upper layers of the soil during the warm season..

Backfill soil

All soil removed from the bottom tier of the pit must be poured back and compacted by spilling water. In this case, it is desirable that the embankment cover the walls to a height of at least 5-7 cm. After that, you can pour a fertile layer.

Flat slate beds

The dump of soil removed from the surface should be leveled in a free area and mixed with manure, compost or humus, the concentration of which depends on the natural saturation of the soil with nutrients. After thorough mixing with a pitchfork, the substrate can be poured back, but in no case should it be compacted, only large lumps can be broken. The flowerbed needs to be filled up at the very edges of the formwork, in the near future the soil will naturally settle. When the bed is filled up from the inside, it is necessary to fill the gaps between the walls and the soil adjacent to the outside, while carefully compacting it and spilling it with water, after which you can start arranging the paths.

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